What does it mean to surrender, anyways? Have you ever tried to define it?
Look at the list… do you see it? This list that basically spells it out as F-A-I-L-U-R-E?
I mean, I kind of want to type them out for you, just to make sure you’re seeing them, but I think you get the jest… this list makes the word surrender look like a total LOSER!
Great. I’m a loser. Surrender is the word I just knew God was giving me for the year. T-rrific.
If you know me, then this will come as a shock to you, but I’m kind of a control freak. I know, I know… pick up that jaw from the floor… it’s a bomb of truth.
Granted, I have done better in my freakishness over the last several years (i.e. since I had children and parenthood was nothing like my fantasies), and I’ve come even further in the last few years, when I really began to accept that I can only control so much of what life throws at us (like, none of it).
So when this word came, and I knew it was for me, I took it. After all, I have learned to accept that God is better at His job than I am at His job (this was a toughy for me… anyone else?!).
I wasn’t sure what God was trying to convey, but knew from previous years-with-words that He would eventually reveal His purpose in it. Which also completely scares the crap out of me, but we’ll save that for another post…
Only, I didn’t initially see it as a loser word. A scary one, yes, but not so much a loser word. I did see a word that I’m not really great at doing. But that’s kind of how God rolls.
Yes, Lord, I accept.
So, it became about surrendering to His plan, whatever that looks like. Which I’m typically pretty decent at, because I really like how God’s plans play out. It’s just that I’m not so good at letting them play out in His timing.
Blind faith. Definitely not a phrase that feels safe and within my control. In fact, it just makes me a little sick to think about.
And that’s where the problem lies. Who am I trusting in, anyways?
I’m a Jesus follower? Am I really? Do I truly trust this God in whom I claim to love and trust and follow? If my answer is yes, then why in the absolute world would I doubt Him?
Flesh. I’m human, and sometimes it’s hard for humans to fully invest in “trust” because we’ve grown leery due to the fault of other humans. Get my drift?
Except that God isn’t human.
There is not one time ever in my life that He has failed me. Ever.
Yep, my earthly father failed me. I’ve failed me. Others have failed me. But God? No.
So, surrender. Okay… I can do this. Right?
I thought I was well on my way with my cute little word, and then I happened across a Facebook post from my friend Holley Gerth. It was a simple post, regarding our proverbial words-of-the-year, asking the reader to stand up against whatever the opposite of her “word” was.
Oh yeah, cool, I thought…
…until I decided to turn to my trusty thesaurus to dig into my word… you know, to see exactly what I wouldn’t allow to define me this year.
And that’s when things got weird.
Fight. Victory. Win.
Wait, I like those words! They make me feel like something… like someone. They make me feel like I’m standing for something and that I have purpose. Why in the world would God want me to be a quitter, a chicken, a loser (remember those words in the beginning)? God doesn’t want me to be any of those, right?
Except when He does.
I’m telling you, when the magnitude of this really hit me, it hit hard.
You see, I’ve spent most of my life being a fixer, a perfectionist, a control freak.
I’ve spent many years believing that God knows best, but only when I help Him out a little here and there (and everywhere).
I’ve spent most of my life believing that in order to succeed, I had to win… fight to win… be victorious. Because our plans just won’t work out if we’re not, right?
But that’s just the thing… God is tired of my plans. So He asked me to surrender to His.
It’s not that fighting, being victorious, running the race, trying, etc. etc. are bad. They are all very good… when we’re doing them for the right reasons… or for Him.
But I’m not so sure that I was. I may have made myself believe that I was, but obviously, if He gave me this word, I was doing something out of sorts.
Good grief, He has been asking me to do this for so stinking long. And I’ve just pretended to go along my merry-christian-way, thinking that I was.
I want what He wants; I want to be in His will. I desire to be content in where He has me… to experience the joy of being in Him, regardless of what surrounds me.
But have I really been surrendered to all of that? Of course not. But I desire to be.
God, help me.
To be honest, last year was a total crap shoot for me. I entered the year thinking it would birth big life changes, and boy did it. Just not in the way my pretty little fantasies told me it would (those fantasies are jerks, you know?!).
I’m not saying the year was wasted; oh my goodness, no. There was so much beauty and wisdom splashed in between the hard-as-hell moments. But it almost did me in. And now I know why…
I wasn’t surrendered.
Rather than going on blind faith, trusting in this God I know, I allowed my faith to waiver when things got hard.
Rather than surrendering to what He was trying to show me/teach me, I tried to take matters into my own hands way too often.
But, I continued to look up. I continued to fight for my family, for my children, for myself. And I needed to. He carried us through.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
But this… this is the year of surrender. It’s the year to put my dukes down (is that a thing?). It’s the year to go a step further than looking up, and just be still. Listen. Wait.
I don’t know what the year holds, or what He has in store for us throughout, but I do know that I am:
abandoning my control . . .
yielding to His call . . .
submitting to His will . . .
relinquishing my own desires for His . . .
waving my white flag to my sweet Jesus . . .
. . . and I know that He will carry us to the other side.
Because God is who He says he is. And that is a truth to which I will gladly surrender.